Neuromuscular Responses and Physiological Changes During Small-Sided Games in Wheelchair Basketball

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The aim was to analyze the changes of physical performance and physiological responses during a high-intensity training task in wheelchair basketball (WB) players. Thirteen Spanish first division WB male players participated in this study. A test battery (change of direction ability, sprints, and sled towing) was performed to study neuromuscular responses before (pre) and after (post) the small-sided games (SSG). Furthermore, tympanic temperature and blood lactate concentration were measured before and immediately after players finished the SSG. The SSG tasks consisted in four players against four, 4 bouts of 4 min with 2 min of recovery periods. There was a 1.10% decline in performance in both 5- and 20-m sprints (p < .01; effect size [ES] ≤ 0.14), 1.82% decline in 5-m sled towing (p < .05; ES = 0.18), and 2.68% decline in 20-m sled towing (p < .01; ES = 0.27) between pre- and post-SSG. As in physical performance results, significant differences were observed between pre and post in physiological markers, with increasing tympanic temperature (36.21 ± 0.60 °C to 36.97 ± 0.59 °C; p < .001; ES = 1.27) and blood lactate concentrations (1.95 ± 1.30 mmol/L to 5.84 ± 2.04 mmol/L; p < .001; ES = 2.99) after SSG. The SSG produced a decrease in sprint and sled towing performance after 16 min of intense exercise. Moreover, the decrease in physical performance was accompanied with an increase in physiological responses. These neuromuscular responses could be similar in the real game; thus, coaching staff could benefit from this information when changing bench players.

Iturricastillo, Yanci, and Granados are with the Faculty of Education and Sport, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

Address author correspondence to Aitor Iturricastillo at aitor.iturricastillo@ehu.eus.
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